"Cyprus has something distinctive".
An Interview with Sunshine Cup Title Defender, Fabian Giger.
For the eighth consecutive time, Fabian Giger will use the Cyprus Sunshine Cup to kick-off his season. We talked with the World-class Swiss rider about the past Olympic season, his goals for 2017 and his affinity with Cyprus.
Last weekend Giger returned from a training camp in Spain where, with an eye on the Afxentia stage race, he clocked up many road miles and tested equipment with his Polish Kross Racing Team.
On 23 February, he will be back in Cyprus for the eighth year in a row.
"Since 2010, my first year at Rabobank, I have come every year to Cyprus, and three times I have won the Afxentia race. We do not have the Sunshine Cup in the 2017 team program, but I like it so much that I have decided to add myself", explains Fabian Giger.
The fact that he can race the likes of 2012 Olympic Champion, Jaroslav Kulhavy, is a good argument for Giger to compete in Cyprus. He is looking for that kind of high class competition and sees the early entry into the season as good motivation.
"For me the Cyprus Sunshine Cup gives me the early season goal of being appropriately fit to race, and I've never had problems with an early start of the season."
The four-day race format has worked very well for Giger in the past, and despite being known as a climber, he says the new ‘downhill-heavy’ stage 1 time-trial of 2017 is exciting. "For me, there are still enough climbs," he says, laughing!
Giger explains that the special characteristics of the Mediterranean island are one of the reasons he always comes back.
"Cyprus is a beautiful island that has something very original, something unmistakable; you know you are in Cyprus. The weather is favorable, the four-day load at the Afxentia stage race is perfect for me and the competition makes the race a good gauge of my form. "
In 2016 Fabian Giger was able to win the Afxentia race for the third time and he went into the Olympic year with a very good feeling.
"I felt as strong as ever and after a solid World Cup start in Cairns, I should have been able to meet the Olympic standard in Albstadt. But then came a fall and my form dropped. Not attaining the Olympic qualification mentally pulled me down a little. This was a difficult situation as going to the Olympics has been a childhood dream".
Giger has not got his five rings yet, but in four years he wants to attack again. In the mean time, and for the start of the 2017 season, Fabian Giger is motivated to return to a top ten World ranking.
"I am optimistic that I can go regularly to the World Cup top ten and can also break the top five. In Albstadt and Val di Sole I can do it. If you forget about the change of time and the climate, it would also be possible for me to ride well at the World Championships in Cairns”.
The Swissman will be one to beat at the Afxentia stage race from 23rd to 26th February. Despite some tough competition, a fourth overall victory is certainly attainable.
We look forward to welcoming Fabian back to Cyprus in a week’s time.